At 75, Myrtle Beach is still in its infancy, suffering from growing pains. The city held a righteous celebration this past week, toasting its 1938 incorporation. My invitation got lost in the mail, but I’m hoisting my Foster’s lager in the emptiness of my humble abode. Cheers.
Over 14 million yearly visitors can’t be wrong. Myrtle Beach — the Grand Strand, in the bigger picture — is aesthetically beautiful. A natural wonder. A great place for friends and family to gather, revel, and bask in the glory that is the great salt pond.
Sure, I complain about the local government sometimes. Why? Somebody has to. The local newspaper, The Daily Fishwrapper, is adequate. Actually, I’m on record as saying that the Fishwrapper is the best source for regional news. But it isn’t critical enough of my city’s glaring shortcomings to suit me. Its advertising revenues depend too much on the powers-that-be for it to be shooting from the hip the way I do. That’s understandable.
Nevertheless, I’m still a journalist at heart. While attending Williamsport Area Community College in Pennsylvania eons ago, I was taught in Tony Cillo’s journalism classes that the media serves as a watchdog of democracy. I wear that collar proudly. My beloved mother, the best in the world, even tells me to back off sometimes. So it’s okay if y’all want to yank on my leash from time to time. My skin is thick.
This city has so much to offer — water parks, Family Kingdom, the SkyWheel, golf courses, shopping complexes, fishing piers, retail outlets, the new boardwalk, dinner theaters, nightclubs and gift shops. My personal favorite attraction is Ripley’s Aquarium. My mecca: the fossil cove in the Gay Dolphin.
Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand is a fossil collector’s paradise. There aren’t many places in this world that one can walk a few hundred yards and find natural treasures that are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of years old. Hence, this 60-mile stretch of golden sand will have a special place in my heart till it’s my turn to take the eternal dirt nap.
Yes, I’m too critical sometimes. Sue me. You can’t squeeze blood from a turnip. My small but faithful readership understands, hopefully, my rebelliousness. One time I was even wrong. Maybe twice. That’s not going to stop me from being like my favorite reptile, the turtle (my high school nickname), and sticking out my neck. I do so for the betterment of the community that I hold so dearly.
Yeah, I’ll always be a recovering Yankee. As someone who refuses to leave, I’m a damn Yankee. But there are countless reasons that I still live here after 14 years.
I love you Myrtle Beach. Happy birthday.